Lit Think Podcast
Chapter 4.11 - Ted Lasso and Sports Journalism

Chapter 4.11 - Ted Lasso and Sports Journalism

Combining the best elements of sports and storytelling through our favorite soccer coach

Alicia and Sarah are joined by their NCTE presentation partner Bill Visco to discuss one of his favorites, Ted Lasso. They discuss sports journalism, the shifting sports narrative, and the power of sports to unite people. At the end of this week’s discussion, they talk about the things they've been reading, watching, and analyzing outside of the classroom.

Literary terms of the week: Sports journalism, Sports narrative

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Music by Craig Harmann

Cover art by Matt Holman

Show Notes:

We welcome guest speaker Bill Visco, doctor of English Education at University of Akron, with whom we shared an NCTE session in November 2023:

  • Article, book chapter about Ted Lasso

  • Ohio Council of Teachers of English Language Arts Teacher of the Year 2023

Literary terms of the week:

  • Sports journalism

    • Print era (just newspaper): gather, sort, report

      • Originally horse racing, boxing in American 1800s

      • Audience was upper class elite

      • Baseball changed everything in 1920s (Golden Age of American Sports), birth of press box at stadiums

    • Digital era (blogs, social media, video, podcasts, photos): gather, report, sort

      • Radio, TV, internet brought shift from play-by-play to statistical analysis, narrative around players

      • Sports Illustrated first published in 1954

    • European differences

      • Sports journalism began in Victorian era

        • Futbol, boat racing (cricket & rugby came later)

        • Sports played predominately at boys’ schools

      • London Olympics in 1908

  • Sports narrative

    • Conflict centers around team play, sportsmanship

    • Physical external sports represents abstract internal conflict

      • "I believe in Communism. Rom-communism, that is. If Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan can go through some heartfelt struggles and still end up happy, then so can we."

      • "So I've been hearing this phrase y'all got over here that I ain't too crazy about. 'It's the hope that kills you.' Y'all know that? I disagree, you know? I think it's the lack of hope that comes and gets you."

    • Similar to war narratives (goal is to win, conquer)

      • "For me, success is not about the wins and losses. It's about helping these young fellas be the best versions of themselves on and off the field."

What are we enjoying right now?

  • Alicia: Bookshops and Bonedust (Travis Baldree), His Dark Materials (Max)

  • Sarah: Simon, Sort of Says (Erin Bow), Argylle (movie)

  • Bill: Louder Milk (Netflix), Why Do We Say That? (Scott Matthews)

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